As I absorb online and offline commentary, of which there is much, I detect angst as to why as registered allied health professionals who run businesses even need to complete the verification or certification process. But we are already registered with AHPRA, when isn’t this good enough? Let’s check in on how these two regulatory pieces work together.
The majority of Australian allied health professionals are required to be registered in order to practice clinically regardless of the organisation that engages them, the nature of the work, the clientele or funding sources. “AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency) is the organisation responsible for the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.” AHPRA works with the 15 National Health Practitioner Boards in implementing the National Scheme. The Practitioner Boards set the standards that their practitioners must meet in order to be registered. Once registered practitioners must continue to meet standards annually in order to remain registered and provide allied health services to clients.
Your registration with AHPRA (SPA for speech pathologists) ensures your clinical competence to practice. Whilst the process requests a lot of information about your identity, education, history and disclosure of circumstances that may detrimentally impact your clinical professional performance, all remains focused on your personal and professional clinical skill set. If you are audited you are required to provide evidence that you have invested in your clinical skills, sought clinical supervision, attended training, completed a self-study and so on.
The new Quality and Safeguard Commission oversees registered NDIS providers and the quality of services they deliver to participants. Third party quality assurance certification audits your business’s ability to deliver services against the NDIS National Practice Standards. Whilst we await the release of the National Practice Standards, (May 2018) information consistently indicates that the certification process requires the business owner to prove understanding of and compliance with the following core capabilities”
- How the provider manages risk
- How they provide supports
- How they manage the support provision environment and
- How they manage governance and operational
Experience of those who have completed similar processes previously suggests that comprehensive policies and procedures are required along with strong evidence as to how they are updated, communicated, complied with and measured. Quality assurance principles lie central to the certification process.
“Quality Assurance is the systematic effort by a business to ensure that its end product satisfies its intended use, meets customer expectations and is produced consistently with zero defect” Quality Management Systems. Quality assurance is not a stand-alone system it is part of a business’s overall continuous improvement strategy.
Quality assurance certification is a business governance audit.
AHPRA and SPA registration is an individual’s clinical audit.
AHPRA and SPA registration form only a small but significant part of the business’s effective operations for delivering quality and safe services to people with disabilities utilizing NDIS funding.